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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Lubbock   [6 February 1859]1

Moor Park | Farnham, Surrey


Dear Lubbock

Just as I was starting for this place, I received your note for Wollaston, & I will in a day or two add to it & forward it.—2

I am grieved to hear of your Brother’s accident; but really is most fortunate that it was not worse; what horrid anxiety poor Lady Lubbock must have had & I fear may still have some.—3 Would you some day write me the briefest note to tell me how he goes on, for I shd. really much wish to hear; & I cannot from home, as they are all moving to Hartfield, on account of poor Etty, who is much worse.4

After I last saw you I had bad attack followed by a second, & I have had to take refuge here, where I shall remain a fortnight & try to get a little strength.5

Farewell | Dear Lubbock | Yours ever most sincerely | C. Darwin

P.S. Thinking over your case of ovarium of Pulex,6 it has occurred to me that you & probably no one but you in England could write a capital paper “on the position of certain anomalous insects in the Nat. System, as judged by their internal organs”.— Their externals have been discussed ad nauseam. Earwigs, Pulex, Thrips, Strepsiptera—Trichoptera & other neuroptera &c &c— Think of this; alimentary, generative male & female & nervous systems & circulatory (?)7


The Sunday before Lubbock’s reply. See following letter.
The letter to Thomas Vernon Wollaston has not been found.
Beaumont William Lubbock, John Lubbock’s younger brother, had injured himself (see following letter).
Henrietta Emma Darwin accompanied Emma Darwin and the younger children to Hartfield, Sussex, on 7 February 1859 (Emma Darwin’s diary). Henrietta had been ill throughout much of January.
Emma Darwin’s diary records that CD had a second ‘attack’ on 2 February 1859. CD arrived at Moor Park hydropathic establishment on 5 February 1859 (‘Journal’; Appendix II).
Lubbock included a description of the ovarium of Pulex in Lubbock 1859. CD discussed this paper with Lubbock prior to publication (see letter to John Lubbock, [November 1858]). Lubbock had touched upon variation in the internal organs of insects in an earlier paper (Lubbock 1857a).


Lubbock, John. 1859. On the ova and pseudova of Insects. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 149: 341–69. [Vols. 7,9]


JL’s brother’s accident.

Thinks JL should tackle systematics of anomalous insects from studies of internal organs.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Lubbock, 4th baronet and 1st Baron Avebury
Sent from
Moor Park
Source of text
DAR 263: 26 (EH 88206475)
Physical description
ALS 4pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2408,” accessed on 30 September 2023,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7